A flurry of activity in Kenya has seen banks and operators make cashless payments easier.
After President Uhuru Kenyatta asked banks and mobile money providers to consider reducing the costs of transactions to allow customers use cashless modes of payment as part of the measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 a number of banks and operators have responded quickly.
On Monday Safaricom waived fees on its mobile money transfer service M-Pesa for transactions below Ksh1,000 ($10). Safaricom has said all person-to-person transactions below KSh1,000 ($10) will be free for the next 90 days.
The decision followed a meeting with Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge and other industry players to discuss the evolving situation around the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bank itself has approved the increase of daily M-Pesa transaction limits from the current KSh70,000 ($700) to KSh150,000 ($1,500), specifically to support Kenya’s small and micro business enterprises.
Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Ksh300,000 ($3,000) – instead of the current limit of Ksh140,000 ($1,400) – and hold up to Ksh300,000 ($3,000) in their M-Pesa wallets.
Airtel Kenya has now followed Safaricom’s example. It will waive the associated transaction fees for mobile money services for the next 90 days, in an attempt to ease the financial burden of self-isolating from the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Airtel has also increased the amount that users can hold in their mobile wallets as well as the transaction limits, according to a report in The East African news site.
Another bank, Absa Kenya, formerly Barclays Bank Kenya, has also waived all digital transaction costs below a certain limit in order to encourage use of cashless methods.
In emails and text messages to clients, the bank has discouraged the use of physical cash and is encouraging its clients to move to digital payment methods.